Have you ever heard the saying, “The walls have Eyes.” This is true and our Eyes have been telling us about a loose cannon that is ready to blow at any minute. This is another one of the people that are part of Schultz’s upper echelon. The actions of this individual warrants a full investigation and termination, if this case is proven to be true (or promotion to Deputy Chief since Schultz loves an incompetent staff). Is this person just following the examples given by Schultz? Schultz knows about this person but just like the mother in Newtown, Connecticut, he refuses to acknowledge he has a person who may have mental issues and is sympathizing with him. We all know how the last event played out…
This incident unfolded in the afternoon on Friday, July 20, 2012, at the Albuquerque Police Department’s SWAT office. The primary people involved were two police officers and a police lieutenant. There were other police officers present in the room where this incident occurred.
One of the APD officers (Officer MacFarlane) was in the SWAT Office cleaning his personal weapon. APD Lieutenant Timothy Lopez walked into the room, unloaded his gun, threw the gun on the table where MacFarlane was at and ordered MacFarlane in an insolent manner; “Clean that weapon!” Another officer by the name of Arias was next to MacFarlane. The inference was the order was for both officers to clean his gun according to our Eyes. Lt. Lopez then walked out of the room. The other SWAT officers who were present stated to MacFarlane and Arias, that it was unprofessional and inappropriate for this APD commanding officer to give such a bogus order. The SWAT officers also contended it is the responsibility of the owner of the gun to clean and maintain the weapon and to ensure that it is functioning properly. The weapon was placed on a bookshelf. When Lt. Lopez returned, he looked at his weapon and noticed that it was not cleaned. Lt. Lopez stated to Officer MacFarlane, “I said to clean my gun.” Lt. Lopez left the room again. The SWAT officers who were present reiterated and maintained their position and insisted the two officers not to clean the gun. The gun was placed back up on the bookshelf. Lt. Lopez returns several moments later only to learn that his personal weapon has not been cleaned per his orders.
Lt. Lopez stated to the two officers, “I told you to clean that gun. Both of you get your ‘asses’ in my office now!” The two officers followed Lt. Lopez into Lopez’s office. Lt. Lopez immediately started a battery of vulgarity and was yelling in an unreasonably loud and boisterous fashion. It was obvious that Lopez wanted the other officers present in the other room to hear him. The officers exited Lt. Lopez’s office and Sergeant Fox enters the office immediately.
Sergeant Fox and Lt. Lopez conversed about the inappropriate behavior and treatment of officers by Lt. Lopez. Initially, Sergeant Fox thought it was all a joke by how outrageous and ridiculous Lopez’s was acting.
The entire tactical sections of APD have voiced their displeasure with the behavior of their "tactical commander." Commander Harold Medina did hold mediation later on. Medina stated to one of the officers during the mediation, "People make mistakes." All parties were “strongly encouraged” to handle this matter in an informal fashion. Commander Medina assured the officers that it will not happen again and all parties would be respectful.
NOTE: Commander Medina shot and killed a mentally ill juvenile in a church on the west side several years ago. His wife who does not meet Chief Ray Schultz standards is now part of APD. Hypocrisy at its' finest!
Lt. Lopez takes MacFarlane and Arias into the garage bay and says he expects orders to be followed. Out of a spirit of cooperation, the two officers do not push the issue or inform Lopez that cleaning a personal weapon is NOT a legal order. Being a command level officer, Lopez should have known the order he gave was not legal and thereby the officers were not obligated to follow the invalid order. Summer continues with good working relationships between all parties.
The next incident occurred on Thursday, September 6, 2012, at the APD SWAT Office. Present at the time were Lt. Lopez, Sergeant Catsis, Sergeant Gallegos, Officers Schmiel, Griffin, MacFarlane, and Arias.
Officer MacFarlane was cleaning his gun while Sergeant Catsis and Officer Arias were working on administrative paperwork. Lt. Lopez observes Officer MacFarlane cleaning his gun and states, “We cleaning guns MacFarlane?” Lopez was sarcastic and had an antagonistic tone in his voice. Officer MacFarlane replied, “I'm cleaning my gun, Sir." Lt. Lopez continues badgering and states to Officer MacFarlane several additional times, “We cleaning guns MacFarlane? ‘I said are we cleaning guns, MacFarlane?’” It was obvious Lt. Lopez was mocking Officer MacFarlane by mimicking Officer MacFarlane’s voice. MacFarlane replied, “Yes, lieutenant I'll clean your gun.” Officer MacFarlane shakes his head and keeps his head down acknowledging Lt. Lopez’s bullying technique.
Although, there were other supervisors in the room, Sergeant Catsis stayed seated at his desk and did nothing, not even to attempt to stop or prevent a heated event. Officer Arias attempted to defuse the situation and stated, "Ok guys, let's not do this again." Lt. Lopez continues relentlessly with his verbal battery of bullying. Officer MacFarlane was using a cleaning tool box which had the lid open at MacFarlane’s eye level. Lt. Lopez blows up and lost his temper. Lopez slapped the tool box which launched it into MacFarlane's face. The tools in the box flew and were scattered. Lopez proceeded to yell at MacFarlane, “You fucking answer me when I'm talking to you!” Officer MacFarlane stood up shocked and replied, "What the fuck?!" Lopez then walked angrily and stopped less than three feet away from MacFarlane’s face. Lopez yells at MacFarlane, “You want to stand up to me?!” Based on the rage Lopez was displaying, our Eyes tell us Macfarlane was in fear of receiving an immediate battery. Lopez continued aggressively and bumped MacFarlane’s chest, causing him to fall backwards. Officer Arias jumped up to stop the fight between MacFarlane and Lopez. Once again an APD supervisor (Sergeant Catsis) did nothing to stop or prevent the bullying or the battery that occurred. Our Eyes tell us that Lopez had his right hand posed on his firearm. We are told that Arias felt that Lopez was going to shoot MacFarlane. Based on this fear, Arias placed Lopez into a restraint position, thus denying Lopez the opportunity to draw his firearm. A short scuffle ensued. The entire time Sergeant Catsis watched and did nothing.
Sergeant Gallegos, Officers Dave Griffin and Scott Schmiel ran into the room from the hallway and pulled Officer Arias away from the Lopez. The officers then escorted Arias into the hallway. As Officer Arias was being pulled away, Officer MacFarlane attempted to exit into the hallway but Lopez cut him off; again Lieutenant Lopez got into Officer MacFarlane’s face and angry words were exchanged and it appeared Lopez was battering MacFarlane. Officer Arias attempted to break away from the Bomb officers to prevent MacFarlane from being battered but Arias was unable to. Sergeant Catsis continued to do nothing and sat at his desk. As Officer Arias was being taken down the stairs, all the officers could hear Lopez yell to Sergeant Catsis, “Write them up! They're both off of SWAT!” Arias yelled, "Who does he think he is, an Air Force General!” Officer Arias challenged Lopez to take his uniform off and meet him outside. Arias also told Lopez, “Don't Hide behind your rank!” Lopez refused,stating to Arias, "Fuck you." Lopez retreated to his office as Sergeant Fox arrived. Sergeant Catsis told Sergeant Fox the Lieutenant is really out of line and proceeded to the Lieutenant’s office to talk to him. Later Sergeant Catsis asks Officer MacFarlane and Arias if “they wanted to talk to the Lieutenant just as ‘Tim'” in an apparent attempt to pacify Lopez’s behavior and keep the situation at the lowest level. Both refused and ask for Commander Medina. Lieutenant Lopez sabotaged MacFarlane and Arias by calling Commander Medina and placing a bias in Medina’s (his friends) mind by offering his tainted version of the story.
When Commander Medina arrived, Officer MacFarlane, Officer Arias and Sergeant Catsis entered the room. Officer Arias was instructed to leave. Arias asked why MacFarlane had to go in alone with the supervisors without a witness or a representative. Commander Medina become childishly agitated and upset and stated to Arias he would not tolerate disrespect. Later, Arias entered the office alone and apologized to Commander Medina for any misunderstanding that was not intended. Commander Medina appeared to be angrier and in a defensive posture mentally. Arias requested a union representative and Commander Medina took several moments to decide if he was going to allow it. Medina sat back in his chair with a “pompous arrogant attitude” wondering if he was going to allow Arias a representative. Medina finally states, “That’s a good question Steve (Arias); let me see if I will allow you a representative.” Arias informed Medina he would not talk to him without representation. Commander Medina stated, “You know Steve, I predict the Lieutenant will get hammered, Steve will get hammered, and Jeff will fall somewhere in between.” It was interesting that Medina had already passed judgment, predicted discipline and assigned blame without ever hearing from key witnesses. It is clear Commander Medina could not be objective and clearly had a personal agenda (friendship) with Lopez. Union Representatives Sergeant Greg Weber and Officer Justin Montgomery arrived and discussed the incident. Nothing further occurred on that day.
Officer MacFarlane and Arias returned to work on Friday. The incident involving Lopez was the topic of discussion. Sergeant Catsis, Officer MacFarlane, and Officer Arias were alone in the office. Sergeant Catsis, who had sat back and did nothing, began to berate Officers MacFarlane and Arias stating, “The officers should have just cleaned the gun and stop behaving ‘righteously.’” Sergeant Catsis used vulgarity several times in his tyrant. This abuse continued for some time. Arias finally told Sergeant Catsis, “how as a military officer and an APD supervisor, could you think what the Lieutenant did to us was right?” Catsis stopped talking and appeared to be somewhat resigned and defeated but agreed with Arias he had never before seen any supervisor anywhere behave that way. Arias continued to explain his dismay with Catsis because he sat through the entire episode without as much as a word to protest the unjust. Sergeant Catsis was told the officers no longer trusted him and they were weary about performing tactical work with him due to his lack of integrity and desire to muddle through no matter what injustice had been committed. Catsis attempted to apologize for his gross negligence.
The following week on Tuesday, the officers were informed that Lieutenant Lopez was to stay away from the SWAT office and relocate to the horse stables; in addition he was no longer allowed to supervise SWAT until the matter was resolved.
On Wednesday (SWAT training day), Officer MacFarlane and Arias are told to report to the Commander's office at the Gerald Cline Memorial Substation. The two officers are advised they were being administratively transferred to patrol starting following day. The two officers were told they were prohibited from training with the SWAT team. The following day, both officers received target letters from the APD’s Internal Affairs Unit. The letters informed the two officers about the administrative transfers and the IA investigation. The charges listed against the two officers were insubordination, conduct unbecoming an officer and workplace violence (CABQ Administrative Instruction 301.5).
When one officer went to Lt. Mike Miller's office (Miller is in charge of Internal Affairs) to sign for their letter, Miller informed the officer of the letter and decision, “Is not from this office.” Miller was alluding the decisions were being made by the 5th floor (Chief Schultz’s Office). The officer humorously states to Miller, that he and the other officer are “a little sketchy” of APD management at this point. Lt. Miller, apparently misunderstood the comment completely and stated, "Well, you better not be sketchy in here! ‘We will fuck you!’" This officer was shocked and resigned by this statement and over reaction. The misbehavior of APD’s management team proliferates throughout the Department, the officer is now afraid to speak in fear of retaliation or simply being misunderstood again.
About mid-September, Arias is accompanied by Officer (Ret.) Ron Olivas and APOA Attorney Fred Mower to APD’s Internal Affairs Unit. Arias is read Garrity and compelled to give a statement to investigator Anastacio Zamora. Arias had documented all the misconduct by APD supervisors which he stated was necessitated due to the gross misbehavior of APD supervisors. Arias asked that Commander Medina not be a part of the administrative review since he was a pivotal party involved in the incident after-the-fact and since Medina had a personal friendship with Lopez.
Of interest, the APD SOP and administrative orders clearly states, the offending employee shall be removed. In addition, the instruction says the “harassing employee” will be held fully accountable for their behavior and its result. Of course in Good Ol’ Boy APD Style, APD laid the “hammer down” on the victims. Keep in mind; this is exactly what Commander Medina had previously predicted.
During the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, our Eyes tell us Lieutenant Lopez had several adverse and negative interactions with SWAT officers as he attempted to assert his authority (remember Lopez was not to supervise SWAT officers). A key to being a command level officer is; “respect is not just given, it must be earned.” Officer Drew Bader went to IA to file a complaint and Officer Russ Carter and Anthony Sedler were possibly disciplined for insubordination against Lt. Lopez and Commander Dodo Comacho.
The week of December 4th, which was a Tuesday and the 90th day of the investigation, Officer Arias attempted to get a copy of his compelled statement from Internal Affairs. Arias wanted to ensure accuracy. Arias was told the investigation was not completed. Several days later, Arias returned to IA in person and greeted several of the investigators. Arias asked for a copy of his statement in person and Investigator Zamora informed Arias the investigation was not complete and that he still needed to proof-read it before sending it to Lt. Miller. Once it is submitted, Lieutenant Miller would return it with suggestions and then a final draft would be completed. Arias was also informed that Commander Medina would NOT be reviewing the investigation but instead a deputy chief. This part came as good news to the officers. Lieutenant (Ret.) Ray Torres called Lieutenant Miller on Arais’ behalf and discovered the investigation was still incomplete. Time continued to pass without any word from IA. Arias was told he could not have a copy of his compelled statement until findings were presented. Arias was informed that Deputy Chief Steve Warfield (whom clearly has anger issues himself) was reviewing the matter and asked the Chief of Police for more time due to the length of the report (140 pages). One would think a deputy chief of police could read 140 pages in a day; maybe not. Perhaps Schultz should give a reading test before promoting a new deputy chief in the future or instruct the IA investigators to convert the investigation to a comic picture book for Warfield to look at.
All of this information is rumor and conjectured, because neither IA nor anyone in Arias’ former chain of command have attempted to contact or correspond with this officer. Based upon the behavior mentioned in this story, it can only be reasonably assumed the delay is intentional. It appears the purpose of this “game” is to reduce the chances of litigation, the officers’ right to fight for fairness, to allow Lieutenant Lopez to retire without consequence, and to prevent the media and Department of Justice from uncovering APD's practice of protecting serious violations by management and placing the burden upon others.
This is obviously a detail enriched story. However, as extreme as this may seem, it is intended to clearly show and demonstrate that the corruption in APD starts at the top. We here at the Eye have been warning the public about this for some time. This involved a gun; a deadly weapon and a command level supervisor who is either mentally ill or a gangster thug (a by-product of Schultz), who was intoxicated with the power of authority. The behaviors of other supervisors, allowing this to happen, should be fired with Lopez. Yes, we said fired. Medina obviously has been promoted far beyond his abilities. He too should face harsh discipline including termination. We know nothing will happen till Berry and Schultz are fired and a new mayor and chief come into office and scrub APD clean from the TOP to the BOTTOM.
Here is a disclosure; Arias’ stepfather is the Honorable City Councilmen, Ken Sanchez. Our Eyes have told us that Arias has not allowed or asked Mr. Sanchez to become involved despite the despicable actions of APD’s management team. Although, we here at the Eye are sure Mr. Sanchez must be displeased and disappointed by the leadership of APD.
Throughout this entire incident, the only APD supervisor to show any decency was Sergeant Jim Fox. This sergeant has been the only shining example of what a man of integrity resembles.It is truly sad police department personnel cannot be trusted to behave justly when its sole purpose and obligation to the citizens is to be trusted.
PICTURES UPDATED ON 12/26/2012 @ 6:27 PM